(Odessa; US: 5 Mar 2013; UK: 5 Mar 2013)
North Carolina’s Kingsbury Manx has oft been labeled a folk-pop act, and not without some reason. But as the band returns in March with their sixth full-length, Bronze Age, it’s clear that just folk-pop doesn’t fit anymore. The impressive new record expands their gauzy, shuffling melodies into fuzzier rock turns and edgy atmospherics, sometimes stretching out into layered fever dreams. Nowhere are the band’s strengths as clearly on display as they are on “Handsprings”, a swaying track that glides on cascading piano and perfectly understated melodies. When the chorus opens up in its triumphant close, you think the song has hit its high point. And then the bright sounds bottom out and you’re left with the shadowy negative of those sounds, everything bright and swelling turned dark and spacious. It’s a brilliant turn on an album full of them, and a sure sign that a long-unsung band who been at the top of their game for a long while has somehow found another level. This isn’t just their sound, it’s also the best version of it to date.
Bronze Age is out March 5 on Odessa Records.